Boot Camp Registration, New Advanced CLE Program, Annual Meeting Wrap Up, Amicus Brief, and more. 

VADA Defense Line November 2019

President's Corner

The 2019 Annual Meeting at The Norfolk Main was a huge success, which included a beautiful new venue in downtown Norfolk and a robust agenda of informative presentations.  We extend thanks to our sponsors, speakers and judges who traveled far and near to attend. 

We also look forward to the upcoming 2019-2020 year which includes our Annual Young Lawyers Bootcamp on December 13 in Richmond, an Advanced Workshop on Expert Witnesses on March 13 at the University of Richmond Law School, Spring Section Seminar May 13-15, and Annual Meeting at The Homestead on October 14-16, 2020.   Please go to for more information.

Additionally, we are also looking forward to promoting Wellness in our organization and commend the Virginia State Bar’s efforts to emphasize the importance of self-care.  In the spirit of Wellness and encouraging movement to decrease stress and fuel feelings of well-being and to promote other avenues of getting to know the plaintiff’s bar, we are serving as “Gold” sponsors, along with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, of the 3rd Annual HCA Sports Medicine 5k race scheduled for Saturday, March 21, 2020.  We will also be in friendly competition with the VTLA with aspirations of victory!  There will be more information later on how we score points – which can be earned whether you want to walk, jog, or race.   Friends and family are also invited to join, so let the training begin. There is no time like the present to start moving and taking care of yourself. Visit for a training program.

Melissa H. Katz
VADA President, 2019-20


The Young Lawyers Boot Camp is Friday, December 13, 2019 at the Bank of America Building in downtown Richmond. Newer attorneys will learn the practical information needed to practice defense law.  Sessions are taught by experienced members of the defense bar.  This year's agenda is different than 2018 so plan to attend again.

The agenda will include sessions on:

    * Ethics in Defense Practice

    * Working with Expert Witnesses
    Working with the Trial Courts of the Virginia General District and Circuit Courts
    The Use of Mediation
    Written Discovery
    Insurance Coverage in Automobile Cases
    Judicial Panel on Advice for New Laywers 

    See the complete agenda and register online here.

    VADA Diversity Scholarship Success

    In 2018, VADA was pleased to support the development and training of a diverse population of law students by launching the VADA Diversity Scholarship Program. This program offers a $3000 stipend for a diverse law student who pursues summer employment or an internship with a Virginia firm or legal organization involved in civil litigation defense. Our first recipient of the award, Theo LaRose from the University of Richmond School of Law, clerked his first year at Sands Anderson due to our scholarship and was subsequently asked back by the firm to clerk a second year.

    We are excited to announce that Theo will be joining Sands Anderson as an Associate following graduation.  Congratulations Theo and thank you Sands Anderson for supporting our Diversity Scholarship Program.


    Time to Level Up your expert witness discovery and trial tactics!   Block your calendar for the ADVANCED EXPERT WORKSHOP which is scheduled for Friday, March 13, 2020 at the University of Richmond Law School from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.   Come learn from skilled litigators and a panel of experts on issues to include -  Successful Cross Examination of the Economist and Vocational Rehab experts;  Successful use of an Accident Reconstruction Expert; Successful practices for excluding your Defendant Medical Expert’s prior disciplinary record and objecting to production of your expert’s financial records; learn from a panel of Engineering Expert Witnesses regarding best practices as they share war stories about depositions and trial, and much more! 

    VADA Member Spotlight 

    This Roanoke native and Wahoo alum has been a VADA member since 2011.  When she is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with family, visiting wineries, and dreaming about a bucket list tour of Europe.  To find out more about this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here. 

    CLE Forms

    Need to report your CLEs? You can easily access the past year's CLE forms on the VADA homepage under "Events" tab.

    Did You Know?

    You can receive hot off the press updates of state and federal case law impacting Virginia practice by joining the VADA Members-Only Facebook Group? Join here.

    Annual Meeting Wrap Up

    We would like to thank the more than 240 members, sponsors, and friends who attended this year’s VADA Annual Meeting in Norfolk on October 2-4!  We had an action packed three days, filled with great CLE presentations, fun social events, and our annual Thursday Awards Luncheon on October 3.  Our host this year was the beautiful Hilton Norfolk The Main, located in the heart of downtown Norfolk steps away from Norfolk’s Waterside District.

    Our theme for this year’s meeting was “Charting a Course for Successful Litigation.” A huge round of applause to our Annual Meeting Committee, our speakers, our Director of Meetings Amy Gilbody, our Executive Director Sherma Mather, past Executive Director Leigh Farmer, Journal Managing Editor Molly Terry and all others involved in the planning and execution of this year’s event!  We also would like to recognize and thank our sponsors, without whose generosity and support events like our 2019 Annual Meeting would not be possible! 

    Please enjoy these photo highlights of this year’s meeting.  Please also mark your calendars now for our 2020 Annual Meeting, which will be held October 14-16, 2020, at the Omni Homestead Resort.   We hope to see you there!

    New Virginia Supreme Court Case Law

    In Tingler v. Graystone Homes, Inc., (Record No. 180791, 10/31/19), the Virginia Supreme Court addressed multiple issues, to include the issue of whether the plaintiffs could sue a home builder in tort for personal injuries they related to mold exposure as a result of the home builder’s alleged failures during the original construction phase.  The Court affirmed the trial court’s ruling sustaining the demurrer to this count but reversed on the personal injury claims resulting from alleged negligent repair.  This 41 page opinion provides helpful guidance on the distinction between nonfeasance versus misfeasance/malfeasance and when a parties’ relationship governed by contract may give rise to a tort.   In this case, the Court makes clear that the mere fact the plaintiff claims personal injury doesn’t turn every contract case into a tort.  Click here to access the case. 

    Please let us know if you have any letter opinions, orders, and/or other court rulings you would like to share in our efforts to get consistent rulings around the Commonwealth.   Email

    Journal of Civil Litigation  

    The Fall 2019 edition of The Journal of Civil Litigation is hot off of the presses!  In this month’s edition Robert B. “Chip” Delano, Jr., discusses the importance of identifying the standard of review in appellate cases.  In 2019’s Best Article of the Year, Tate C. Love writes about Virginia law on when an expert witness can be required to identify the insurance company who hired him or her.  Finally, C. Walker Terry, chair of the VADA’s Corporate and Commercial Litigation Section, bring us all up-to-speed on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.  In addition, the Journal includes its usual collection of judicial opinions from around the Commonwealth, including one on whether a vindictive father actually used his will to encourage his son to divorce his wife.  Where else can you find this bounty of Virginia legal information in one publication other than the JCL?

    Amicus Brief  

    The SCV has granted a writ to a plaintiff who has attacked the oyer procedure, relying on Judge Oblon’s decision in Antigone v. Taustin. The VADA will weigh in with an amicus brief in support of the defendant in this case with George Somerville on brief.  The issue presented is whether deeds or letters of probate and administration are the only documents that can be added to the record by motion craving oyer, as Fairfax Circuit Judge David Oblon held in Antigone v. Taustin, 98 Va. Cir. 213. The Antigone limitation renders oyer essentially useless in a large number of cases in which the doctrine otherwise should apply. 

    The oyer device is a helpful way to obtain dismissal of non-meritorious cases by demurrer, when a document that is the basis of an alleged cause of action is not attached as an exhibit to a complaint.  It is employed commonly but not exclusively in breach of contract cases.  We are hopeful that the SCV will resolve the controversy created by Antigone

    Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
    1915 Huguenot Road, Ste 301
    Richmond, VA  23235